Ollie Watkins’ Remarkable Journey
Ollie Watkins, the talismanic forward of Aston Villa, has heaped praise on the influential Unai Emery, who played a pivotal role in resurrecting his international career. The 27-year-old striker made a triumphant return to the England squad, leaving his mark with a crucial goal that secured a 1-0 victory against Australia at the iconic Wembley Stadium in a recent friendly encounter.
From Struggles to Stardom: Ollie Watkins’ Spectacular Season
Watkins has been setting the Premier League on fire this season, amassing four goals and delivering four assists in just eight appearances. His standout performance included a memorable hat-trick against Brighton. Yet, this surge in form is a testament to the transformative period that began when Unai Emery assumed the managerial reins at Villa Park, succeeding Steven Gerrard.
Emery’s Impact: A Striker Reborn
Before Emery’s appointment, Watkins had endured a frustrating season, managing only two goals. Astonishingly, after the Spanish tactician’s arrival, the striker found the back of the net an impressive 14 times in just 26 matches.
Watkins Speaks: Confidence and England’s Resurgence
Speaking about his resurgence and return to the England setup, Watkins attributed much of his success to Emery’s mentorship: “I think my mindset has changed since the boss has come in, Unai Emery at Villa. He’s filled me with a lot of confidence. I’ve definitely improved in these last 18 months since I was last in the England camp. I think it shows in my form and my performance here, so I’m really happy and I’m delighted to be back in the squad and putting on an England shirt. I envisioned it all (playing and scoring against Australia). I was itching to get on the pitch, so I’m delighted I got my goal and it helped the team to win.”
Euro 2024 Dreams: Watkins’ Unique Style
While Watkins faces stiff competition to secure a spot in England’s Euro 2024 squad, he acknowledges that his playing style sets him apart from the legendary Harry Kane. “I think I’ve got a completely different playing style to Harry; he can drop deep and play some unbelievable long passes – that’s not my game. I can’t do that. My strengths are running in behind and stretching them, so I can only do what I can do. When I put on the shirt, I’ll try and do the best I can for my country, and then it is the manager’s decision.”
In conclusion, Ollie Watkins’ remarkable resurgence and return to the England national team owe much to the influential Unai Emery at Aston Villa. The striker’s transformation under Emery’s guidance has been nothing short of astonishing, and he now faces the exciting prospect of representing England on the international stage once more. With Euro 2024 on the horizon, Watkins’ unique playing style may offer Gareth Southgate an alternative dynamic in his attacking options.